Press Release: Alcona County Releases Technology Action Plan to Advance Community Connectivity

Today, the Alcona County Commissioners, Leadership Alcona, and Connect Michigan have released a Technology Action Plan for Alcona County, Michigan. The release of this plan follows months of extensive analysis of the community’s broadband and technology standing and consideration of its technology goals. The Technology Action Plan gives step-by-step action items to ensure Alcona County reaches those technology goals.

Alcona County has been working with Connect Michigan, a program of Connected Nation, on the Connected Community Engagement Program. This initiative assesses the local broadband landscape, identifies connectivity gaps, and establishes technology-driven goals and objectives to increase broadband access, adoption, and use for families, organizations, and businesses throughout the community. Alcona County joins more than 50 communities throughout the Great Lakes State that are engaged in the Connected program.

“Local governments need to be open to, and encourage expansion of, high-speed Internet services for the benefit of the people they serve,” said Marlena MacNeill, Alcona Township Supervisor and member of Leadership Alcona.

“It is vital to bring broadband service to all the underserved areas of Alcona County to improve our quality of life, and we need the support of our communities to make this effort a reality,” said Kathy Vichunas, Alcona County Commissioner.

The Alcona County Technology Action Plan sets general, community-wide broadband connectivity goals to work toward that will support and further enhance economic development and residential quality of life. Alcona County’s top goals from the new plan include:

Perform an analysis of local policies and ordinances in Alcona County to ensure that local policies are conducive to broadband expansion
Identify, map, and validate broadband demand in order to develop a business case for further expansion of broadband in Alcona County
Develop or identify a broadband training and awareness program for small and medium businesses
Facilitate Internet safety classes
Facilitate a technology summit
Additional projects include creating local jobs through teleworking opportunities, improving the online presence of government, services, and healthcare providers, as well as applying for federal funding to support broadband infrastructure build-out. Alcona County is already implementing action items to advance its technology standing in the digital economy with the first Leadership Alcona Technology Expo scheduled for October 22.

The members of Leadership Alcona released the following joint statement:

In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt warned that the electricity divide excluded rural families from economic benefits. We have observed that many parallels exist between bringing electricity and broadband to rural areas. Alcona County village, township, city, and county governments would do well to follow the declaration of the federal government, which states that broadband should be treated as a utility.

“Broadband is a critical element of development for communities to compete in the digital economy,” said Eric Frederick, Executive Director for Connect Michigan. “Armed with a Technology Action Plan and the data from a community-wide assessment, Alcona County has taken important steps toward building a digitally connected community.”

For questions about the Connected Community Engagement Program in Michigan, please contact [email protected]

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